July 8 (UPI) — Two U.S. Air Force strategic bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula on Friday, following North Korea‘s ballistic missile test.
A pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam were joined by South Korean and Japanese fighter jets for a 10-hour sequenced bilateral mission over the Korean Peninsula on Friday.
The U.S. Air Force said the flight was in response to “a series of increasingly escalatory actions by North Korea,” including the launch of a ballistic missile early Tuesday.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” Pacific Air Forces commander, General Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, said in a statement. “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”
The B-1B bombers dropped inert weapons to practice their attack capabilities.
South Korean F-15 fighter jets and U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets joined the bombers as they flew over the peninsula.
“U.S. bombers and Republic of Korea fighters are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal,” Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson said in a statement. “This mission clearly demonstrates the U.S.-ROK alliance remains prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and region.”
The B-1Bs were later joined by Japan Air Self-Defense Force over the East China Sea on their way back to Guam.
China denounced a similar mission on Thursday in which two U.S. B-1B bombers took part in a joint drill with Japan in the East China Sea and later flew over the South China Sea.